Attack on Titan took the anime world by storm back in 2013, with its amazing animation, brutal story and sheer violence, it really gave anime watchers what they’ve been missing for a while. Although no one really thinks of anime’s or even tv shows as being informative about the world, Attack on Titan really does offer some valuable life lessons.
You can’t make any serious change in the world unless you take risks!
A central theme that runs through the anime is survival – they’re literally living in walled cities to protect them from these gigantic humanoid beasts that eat humans. Instead of taking your standard route of pure naivety that’s seen in a lot of survival shows, it shows the grim realities of these situations.
You can’t make real change in the world unless you’re willing to lose your humanity, your life and your sanity, and this is shown throughout each character. But none more than Erwin Smith, the commander, who makes the difficult decisions in order to allow the human race to survive.
This is also applicable to everyday life as you have to make sacrifices and go out of your comfort zone to achieve your dreams. You can’t expect change to happen in a vacuum, and although we’re not experiencing titan attacks, we should really embrace this kind of attitude… but maybe without turning into monsters.
“You can’t change anything unless you can discard part of yourself too. To surpass monsters, you must be willing to abandon your humanity”
– Armin Arlet
Don’t let anything hold you back.
So as I said before this anime has a lot of survival elements, every character is going through a lot. It’s literally a life or death situation, and yet they still fight, every single day, for a brighter future.
We see this a lot in the main character Eren, Mikasa and Armin. Shiganshina was literally destroyed, their home town, their family, everyone they love was wiped out, and yet they still want to fight and build a better future. Despite their motivating forces consisting of hatred and revenge, their willingness to fight still shows that even in the darkest places, you can fight for life.
“Once I’m dead, I won’t even be able to remember you. So I’ll win, no matter what. I’ll live, no matter what!”
― Mikasa Ackerman
Don’t live a life filled with regrets.
Another central theme is that of regrets, and the choices some of the characters have made that have led to major character deaths.
In the case of Levi, when he first joined the Survey Corps his greed and desperation led him to the deaths of his dear friends Isabel and Farlan. During their first expedition he left the team to go on a solo mission, and as a result, came back to witness them die by the hands of a massive titan.
One key point is that even though this led him to rage kill the titan, instead of leading a life filled with regret, he makes a choice to move forward. This happens multiple times for his character, and that’s how he’s able to help Eren when he’s placed in a similar situation.
Their choices or lack of choices can lead to the deaths of their dearest friends, and their ability to make every choice important despite the outcome shows their ability to fight the feeling of regret.
“If you begin to regret, you’ll dull your future decisions and let others make your choices for you. All that’s left for you then is to die. Nobody can foretell the outcome. Each decision you make holds meaning only by affecting your next decision.”
– Erwin Smith